“’I am a Christian and thus I want to live and die,’ Marco Antonio Bragadin responded, ‘My body is yours. Torture it as you will.’”
“The greater fury of the battle lasted for four hours and was so bloody and horrendous that the sea and the fire seemed as one.”
Today in history witnessed one of the most cataclysmic clashes between Islam and the West—one where the latter for once crushed and humiliated the former. In 1570, Muslim Turks—in the guise of the Ottoman Empire—invaded the island of Cyprus, prompting Pope Pius V to call for and form a “Holy League” of maritime Catholic nation-states, spearheaded by the Spanish Empire, in 1571. Before they could reach and relieve Cyprus, its last stronghold at Famagusta was taken through treachery.
After promising the defenders safe passage if they surrendered, Ottoman commander Ali Pasha—known as Müezzinzade (“son of a muezzin”) due to his pious background—had reneged and launched a wholesale slaughter. He ordered the nose and ears of Marco Antonio Bragadin, the fort commander, hacked off. Ali then invited the mutilated infidel to Islam and life: “I am a Christian and thus I want to live and die,” Bragadin responded. “My body is yours. Torture it as you will.”
So he was tied to a chair, repeatedly hoisted up the mast of a galley and dropped into the sea, to taunts: “Look if you can see your fleet, great Christian, if you can see succor coming to Famagusta!” The mutilated and half-drowned man was then carried near to St. Nicholas Church—by now a mosque—and tied to a column, where he was slowly flayed alive. The skin was afterward stuffed with straw, sown back into a macabre effigy of the dead commander, and paraded in mockery before the jeering Muslim conquerors. Continue reading